The Secret to Raising Successful Children

Psst, parents! Want to raise happy and successful children? Put down that Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother book and land the helicopter parenting methods.

Psychologist and author Madeline Levine tells us all about the secret of good parenting:

While parents who are clearly and embarrassingly inappropriate come in for ridicule, many of us find ourselves drawn to the idea that with just a bit more parental elbow grease, we might turn out children with great talents and assured futures. Is there really anything wrong with a kind of “overparenting lite”?

Parental involvement has a long and rich history of being studied. Decades of studies, many of them by Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that the optimal parent is one who is involved and responsive, who sets high expectations but respects her child’s autonomy. These “authoritative parents” appear to hit the sweet spot of parental involvement and generally raise children who do better academically, psychologically and socially than children whose parents are either permissive and less involved, or controlling and more involved. Why is this particular parenting style so successful, and what does it tell us about overparenting?

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It drives me nuts when you see parents just totally ignoring their children as the children run, scream, destroy displays, jump on beds and other furniture, run at full speed into you and basically make life hell for fellow shoppers at the mall. How do they justify this lack of consideration for other people when out in public? I do not understand.

I recently saw a little girl just get up on the tables at a fast food joint (outside the USA) in full view of her parents who just totally ignored her as she climbed all over the tables, and, in doing so, disturbed me as I calmly sat nearby minding my own business. When I told the little girl to get down off the tables and go sit down, her parents got angry at ME.

Yup. Moderation is indeed needed in today's world.
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Seriously, I have a hypothesis about how some overprotective parenting comes about. I see it in my kids friends, the 10-year-olds who've never made a bad spending decision because they don't get a regular allowance or opportunity to work for money, and teenagers who aren't allowed to walk home from school. The parents have trouble moving from one phase of a child's life to the next. They get comfortable with a toddler and can't imagine their child as a competent preschooler. Or they get comfortable with their eight-year-old and don't see how a middle school student is different. I hate to see my kids grow up and leave, too, but I also want them to have the skills to take care of themselves when they do.
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